Wednesday, 17 February 2021
Department of Health
691. To ask the Minister for Health if the terminal prognosis threshold will be increased for terminal illness medical cards to 24 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8050/21]
864. To ask the Minister for Health his plans regarding the expansion of terminal illness medical cards; when this will be operationalised; the way in which it can be applied for; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8591/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 691, 833 and 864 together.
The Programme for Government ‘Our Shared Future’ contains a commitment to extend discretionary medical cards to those with a terminal illness. The recent Report of the Clinical Advisory Group, which was re-established by the HSE to carry out a review of eligibility for medical cards in cases of terminal illness, recommended inter alia, that legislative change would be necessary to underpin an extension to the current prognosis timeframe required for 'End of Life' medical cards. My Department is therefore currently undertaking an examination of potential options for a legislative framework.
However, pending the development of legislative options, I am pleased to confirm that the Government recently agreed to introduce an administrative arrangement for up to 12 months on an interim basis, that will enable persons who have been certified by their treating Consultant as having a prognosis of 24 months or less, to be awarded a medical card. These applications will not require a means assessment nor will they be reassessed. My Department is actively engaging with the HSE's National Medical Card Unit to ensure all necessary processes and communications to operationalise the scheme are in place within a matter of weeks.